Author archives: demitasse

Meet Jan, the founder of AHHAH–arts holding hand and hearts.

1. Can you tell us a little bit  about yourself ?

My life has been a winding road full of many wonderful twists and turns that have all lead me to AHHAH.
I grew up in Nashville and was going to major in psychology but was invited to act in a summer theatre program my senior year and was hooked and changed my major to theatre.  I was a professional actress in NYC for 18 years, even was in a a horror film, Mad  Man where I get axed in the chest and my head shot off (that always grabs the attention of youth in detention when I share that tidbit).  
I have a BA degree in Theatre and a Master’s in Education, my thesis was “Does and Arts Infused Curriculum enhance the academic success of children labeled “at risk”?”
I have two children, Ian who is 35 and a lawyer in Norristown, and Caitlin who is  31, an artist, dancer and the most amazing mother of my 2 year old grandson in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.
We moved to Unionville 25 years ago.  I started a ‘Science Alive’ program at Unionville Elementary school when it was a K-3 school when my daughter was in 1st grade and then was hired to bring the program to Chadds Ford Elementary.  After getting my Master in Education, I moved on up to Patton Middle School and  taught English, Science, Life Management Skills and assisted the after school drama program.
My husband had worked at the World Trade Center in NYC.  I had always said when my children were grown and I was a grandmother I would go back to acting.  After 9/11 I realized that if you have a dream, you can’t put it on a shelf and say “one day” but pursue it now.  I finished that school year and once again pursued acting this time in Philadelphia.  
My first day not teaching, I was cast in a show “Snow is Falling” with Philadelphia Young Playwrights. During the rehearsals, when they found out that I had been a teacher, I was asked to be a teaching artist teaching playwriting with children in inner city schools in Philadelphia.  A truly AHHAH moment.  I was a teaching artist for both PYP and the Philadelphia Theatre Company for 8 years.  

I also lead the drama program with the Philadelphia Senior Center across the street from Suzanne Roberts Theatre and was a member of CAAN- Creative Arts and Aging Network.  I was part of the planning committee for a town hall meeting at World Live Cafe in 2002 of the importance of professional arts programming with seniors that was a nationwide movement to get funding for professional senior arts programming. The theme of the town hall meeting was think globally but act locally. 

2. When and why did you start AHHAH? 

I started an intergenerational program called Hands Across the Ages which combined senior citizens at the Kennett Senior Center and teenagers at the Garage to share their stories and break down the walls between the generations.  The teens came to the senior center after school for workshops where we used theatre techniques to build connections.  The next year the seniors went to the high school as part of an after school program.
I brought this program to Philadelphia Theatre Company as part of their “Philly Reality” program.  I worked with the Philadelphia Senior Center and the World Communications Charter School which was across the street.   Fall of 2012 they picked the issue of bullying in school and that we need more arts education not more guards with guns.  The piece they wrote together was, “I AM LIVING”.  December 12 was the Sandy Hook killing.  I AM LIVING was performed to a packed audience at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre.  At the talk back after the performance, young and old shared having been either bullied or being a bully, not realizing the impact of words to hurt a person and became advocates to stop bullying.
Three weeks later I found out that  three of the inner city schools where I was teaching were closing and three weeks after than I found out that funding for the arts of the other inner city schools was being cut.  I said to the director of education at PTC that if the government does not believe that children in poverty deserve an arts education and are just going to funnel them into the prison system, then we need to bring our programs to the children in the juvenile justice system.
The education director said they didn’t go there and I said, ” I guess I have to open my own organization that does.”  I quit my job.
I get up early in the morning 4 am  to meditate ( that’s when my husband starts snoring and I felt it was better to get up and meditate instead of tossing and turning with a pillow over my ears or his head!) and journal.  The day after I quit I journaled and asked  “Ok what do I do now, and as if channelled my hand wrote, AHHAH.  I wrote what does AHHAH stand for and I wrote Arts Holding Hands and Hearts.  I closed my journal and said to myself, “I guess that’s my new organization.”  

3. Can you share some stories from AHHAH programs?

I teach 6 am yoga at Yoga Secrets in Kennett. That morning after teaching I asked, Can anyone get me into the prisons legally.
There was a new person in class who said she was a parole officer and said I need to talk to Carrie Avery and Joe Frankenstein at the Chester County Youth Center.  I said,”Is this a horror film joke, Carrie and Frankenstein! It wasn’t.  I met with Carrie and Joe and a week later I started a weekly trauma sensitive yoga class.  Three months later we started a creative writing program.  That was in 2013.
The first writing program was with girls in the shelter for homeless and abused girls at CCYC. There were 4 girls, all from Coatesville.  The first girl who shared was Sarena, who wrote, “I am the daughter of a teenage mother who was the daughter of a teenage mother who was the daughter of a teenage mother with no father in sight.”  The next girl who shared wrote about being raped at 12 by her uncle while her mother was in the room and the baby crying that stopped him from taking her again but she forgave him because she knew that she would be in prison in her heart if she didn’t forgive.  I knew then that AHHAH had to make Coatesville our base to see how we could stop the youth from Coatesville entering the juvenile justice system.
Our first grant was a 21st Century Learning Center grant and we facilitated trauma sensitive yoga and after school playwriting classes with students at Scott Middle School in 2014.  We then found out that children in kindergarten were being suspended in Coatesville.  We knew if we were going to be more than a bandaide we needed to reach families with children 0-5.  We started a Family Story Time Yoga program for children 2-5 with a caregiver at the Coatesville Library.
One of the mothers in our first class, mother was a teacher in Early Start a program with Head Start.  She introduced us to the director of Coatesville Head Start and we facilitated Storytime Yoga for free to 5 Head Start classes in Coatesville.  2019 AHHAH brings our Storytime Yoga program to over 400 children in Chester County.
 In my research of why so many children in poverty enter the juvenile justice system I found statistics that children in poverty are exposed to 30 MILLION words less by the time they are five than children in a middle class or more affluent household.
2015 was the City of Coatesville’s 100 anniversary.  I spearheaded a “PULL” (Pop Up Lending Library) Campaign to get 100 both indoor and outdoor PULL Stations throughout Coatesville.
2018 the Longwood Rotary gave AHHAH $1500 for materials to build 10 PULL Stations in Kennett Square. The Kennett Square community embraced the PULL Campaign.  AHHAH partnered with the Kennett Library and the Kennett Culture and Arts group in identifying locations, artists, and collection of books.

Please check AHHAH website for more information:www.artsholdinghandsandhearts.com

As age 80 , Mrs Lin still teaching Ikebana flower arrangement.

what drew you to the world of the Ikebana ?

I came from a big family . I have seven siblings and my grandparents live with us also. Although my mother have a heavy household load to carry. We always had fresh flowers arrangement around the house. I didn’t pay much attention them but I think they influence me unconsciously .
Once I unintentionally join a flower arrangement competition and got the 1 st place , This sparked my interest to start taking a classes. Since then there has been no returning back!

How would you describe your design style or philosophy?
I was following the Traditional Text Book at the beginning and am now getting to the free style — it is still some what in the Japanese Traditional Style. I am now also trying to get more contemporary. In 2019 Philadelphia Flower Show , My student and I will do this style in a public Exhibition.

About the philosophy of Ikebana ;I love the Textbooks lesson 4-20 “ you in Ikebana “. Meaning doing the arrangement with you in it. The other , I love and always mention to my students is – Takonoma in you— meaning very private in your heart, it 100% belong to only you!

What are your favorite flowers and what draws you to those particular blossoms ?

I love white Calla Lilies Because of their simple composition and pure look. That was the reason I incorporated it into the logo of our Sogetsu BuxMont Study Group when I designed it.

What impacts do living with flowers have on those that do ? What is surrounding ourselves with flowers important ?

When I look at the flowers — any size any color . I feel so peaceful. There is also a meditation effect when I am arranging flowers.
Most importantly, I want to let people know the main purpose of why the Ikebana International was founded . In 1965 late Ms. Allen Gorden founded this Non-profit Global Organization to ease the hatred between the countries course by WW II. The logo of the organization is “ Friendship through Flowers “ . I personally promote the “ Peace ,No War “. Saying.

What are your tips for selecting arrangement?
Meaningful. As simple as you can but express your point.

How long have you been painting? 
 
Coming from a family of creators and performers, I grew up with a love for all things creative. In high school, I was more drawn to music and performance but still dabbled in painting. Visual/fine art was something that I had always loved and when it came time to decide on a career path, the visual side took the lead. I went to Delaware College of Art and Design for my associates in Fine Arts and West Chester University to finish my bachelors. After that I was employed as a photography assistant for an auction house in Downingtown, I now currently work there as one of their lead photographers. Although I loved all of the creative formats that I had been allowed to experience, I felt like there was something else that I could use as an outlet, so I decided to play around with the idea of watercolor.  But it wasn’t until I worked at Philter that I started painting as a freelance artist. The owner, Chris Thompson, allowed me to hang my work in the shop, which received an awesomely positive response and things continued grew from there. 
How did you become interested in watercolor? 
 
The funny thing is, I have always been more drawn to oil paints and heavier mediums. In school, I had a very heavy hand and loved high contrast and texture, so oils and charcoal were always my go-to. The love for watercolor came as quite a surprise. I fell in love with the way each layer influenced the next, allowing you to see a history beneath them. Its such a delicate medium, and I was always told how scary it was to use, so it was pretty intimidating when the time came to try it. I wanted to experiment one day, and after I painted my first goldfish, I fell in love with the medium. I’ve never been one to create clean and crisp work, which is something that is usually associated with watercolor. Through playing with it, I had realized that it was much more fun to make a mess. Watercolors are known to be hard to control, and with this knowledge, I’ve learned to let go of my own expectations through the process and allow it to have an active role in creating the piece as well. Why try to control something that can be so beautiful in it’s own right? That’s where the splashes and drips come in. 🙂 Though over the last 3 years, I have worked in a bigger format, moving to larger canvas pieces. This required a heavier paint to stick to the canvas, so a lot of my more recent pieces are done with acrylic in a watercolor style -which opens up a whole other world of playing and experimentation. But I must say that every time I go back to watercolor, my heart is re-stolen. It is a truly beautiful art form.
What attracts you the most–when looking for potential subject matter? 
Painting is truly an outlet for me. So it really depends on my mood and whats happening in life, as cliche as it may sound, those things really do influence what kinds of works come to fruition. Sometimes when I’m not feeling anything in particular but have the need to create, colorful abstract pieces with come to mind. Most of the time my works consist of animals. I’ve always been an animal person, if I didn’t choose this career path, then it certainly would been one involved with fur friends. So I’d say that they influence my work quite a bit. I love the idea of the spirit animal. I feel like everyone has one that they connect with, so shedding light on that is always a fun adventure. I’m especially drawn to woodland creatures- foxes, wolves, and hawks are some of my favorite subjects. They’re pretty independent creatures, though obviously wolves can be big “pack” animals, I feel like there’s a quiet “loner” side that is easy to relate to as well. Color also plays a huge role in my process. I’m a huge fan of color, and I love playing with it in spots that you may not usually find it- like if something is supposed to appear black or in shadow, in nature if you really look at something that appears black, it actually consists of so many other colors. I think that’s half of the fun when creating these pieces, finding things that you wouldn’t usual see at first glance, but somehow makes it all work. It allows the viewer to really observe, search for, and discover something, creating their own connection to the piece, which is really my goal.
Who were the watercolor artists who inspired you most? 
 
Though I haven’t seen many watercolors by him, Cy Twombly is a huge one….I even nerded out to the point of naming my cat after him. At first I never really understood his work, but that’s what made me fall in love with it. He seemed to be purely about color and placement. Things don’t have to make sense in his pieces but they certainly convey something. Lora Zombie’s works really helped to inspire me in taking on watercolor. Her pieces are super fun and edgy, usually consisting of pop culture subjects. And she’s never afraid to make a mess when it comes to watercolor. There is also a ton of talent in my personal tribe and local community that is super inspirational. I’m extremely lucky and thankful to have so many talented friends who influence and inspire my work as well. Its great to be able to bounce ideas back and forth, get feedback and to really be able to be completely supported and vulnerable with these fellow humans. That kind of connection is important.
What are you working on now? 
I’m currently gearing up for the Holiday freelance season, it’s always a super fun and creative time. There are a few pieces that I have in mind that will need to be put on canvas soon (and possibly t-shirts!), so be on the look out for those! There are also some pretty exciting things that are being balanced with the freelance painting as well – my family recently started the On the Roll Inc, Food Truck, which has kept us all very busy and excited! I am thankful to be apart of that endeavor. I am also currently planning out the holiday display at Philter Coffee. Its always a fun process and its nice to take a shot at 3D work between paintings. So I’m super excited to see what we’ll come up with next!

Meet Caroline, artist, art writer, event maker.

How do you introduce yourself?
Caroline Roosevelt. 


How did you find yourself in the art world and decide to stay?
My passion has always orbited around art. As I child, I started drawing and was encouraged to do so by my mother (who is an artist!) I excelled at art in high school, entering and placing in competitions, and studied studio art and art history at Connecticut College. After graduating, I moved to Philadelphia and attended Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts where I continued to suss out what I’m trying to do with my art. As an adult, I continue to pursue artistic endeavors while also engaging the community. I write an art column for Chadds Ford Live and Chester County Press called Mixed Media, and have been enjoying that since November. I still create my own work, and sell my cards at worKS, as well as participate in community art events. I recently established a Pop Up Arts committee dedicated to uplifting the arts in the Kennett area through Pop Up Events. It seems that, no matter where I go, art follows me and I’m realizing that’s not a coincidence. 

What are you working on right now? How did the project come to you?

Right now I’m working on a few paintings for the Evening of The Arts. I’m looking to expand into some more fauvist styles of painting. I have also just learned how to frame my own work, so I’m practicing that as well. 

We also have a Pop UP Art event in Kennett Square on June 1st so, stay tuned for more info!

 
Why did you decide to move to Kennett square?
I am originally from the area. After living in dense metropolitan areas for 10 years, I was ready to slow down a little bit and recalibrate, and that landed me back in Kennett which has been a really fantastic thing for me. I work for the Kennett Township, and participate in community events in the borough as well. I love this community!
What do you like most about Kennett Square?
I love how Kennett has grown into itself in the past ten years. It’s changed from a sleepy agricultural town, to a lively community full of artists and entrepreneurs with big ideas. There will always be a part of the community that will long for the past, and challenge ingenuity, but overall, I see Kennett as receptive to change while still respecting its roots, and that’s one of the most attractive things about this town. 

 

Meet David, the owner of Unionville Saddle. David is a fashion designer, after living in New York for a decade he is bring his love of custom garment making back to here.

What sparked your interest in fashion?

Growing up I always had an interest in fashion, I remember reading GQ or sketching what my favorite pop stars’ were wearing but I was always more interested in fine arts.  I grew up painting and drawing and didn’t begin to sew until I was a senior in high school. I really got interested in fashion when I went to Parsons School of Design in NYC.  While I was studying I realized that fashion was a way to communicate  concepts while exploring traditional construction techniques and making people feel amazing.

What is your brand philosophy?

My brand philosophy revolves around the concept of Your Body Infinite Options.  Studying and working in the fashion industry for a decade opened my eyes to some major flaws in the current fashion system.  From not providing adequate sizing in stores to crippling runway and production costs I have decided to approach the business in a much different way by creating single pieces specifically to a client’s needs.  I believe that clients are looking for something that is made just for them, in the past women would have clothes made for them by dressmakers, working one on one to create something completely original and with a perfect fit for them.  My goal is to make every client feel at home while working with them to create pieces that will flatter every part of them, last, and look modern for years to come.

How do you describe your fashion and style?

I like when there is a mix of minimal clean lines and rawness, I love when frayed edges contrast the perfect fit.  There always needs to be a balance comfort and elegance, weight and lightness, color and texture.

What are you fascinated by at the moment and how does it feed into your work?

Currently, I am working with the concept of my transition from a city life in NYC to life in Unionville.  I have always used personal experience in life as my inspiration for my collections and this transition has been the most shocking and rewarding process of my life.

Talk us through the process of creating a garment. How long does it normally take to create a dress? what’s the procedure like?

Making a garment can take anywhere up to a year, particularly for bridal gowns.  The process always begins with a conversation, what do you need, when do you need it, what will the function be?  Then I will show a client some fabrics that may work with what they need and we begin to sketch. Once a design is selected I drape the piece, make a pattern, fit a muslin, and order the final fabric.  Once the pattern is corrected I cut the garment in final fabric, sew it, and fit the final piece. Depending on how complicated the garment is it may need more fittings to get the correct the fit.

Check David’s website and instagram for more information.

 

Meet Robin, the owner of Brandywine Botanicals. ” Robin’s experience in floral design contributes to an appreciation of artistic balance. She has always had an interest in unique fragrances and has spent the last several years researching products and learning about ingredients sourced from around the world. “–http://www.brandywinebotanicals.com


How did you become a perfumer?

I seem to change careers like most people change jobs and a natural fragrance business brings me full circle to my first job as a floral designer.  Both floral and fragrance design are creative outlets that are based on design principles; they are a wonderful blend of art and science. One of the shops I worked at had a large garden center where it was easy to learn about plants, their care and their fragrance.  I lived in the San Francisco Bay area for a while and the plants are amazing. There were rosemary shrubs and lemon trees growing in the yard and nonstop color all around me. Gardening was, and still is, a joy.  

 

Perfume is a blend of art and science.  Years as a critical care respiratory therapist required a background in science to understand our bodies and therapies used to treat injury and illness.  This ties into the chemistry aspect of fragrance.  We smell essential oils because they evaporate and that rate of evaporation is based on the size of the molecules and how they interact. Fragrance has an effect on our mood and often has therapeutic properties, something I am learning about through aromatherapy training. Experience in the corporate world comes in handy for running a small business.  Anyone who is a small business owner understands that you wear multiple hats and often do it all.   

 

So how did I become a perfumer? Blending essential oils and their beautiful scents was a hobby that grew after taking a single aromatherapy workshop. That workshop was followed by training with a very successful natural perfumer in Rhode Island.  The last several years have been spent trying different blends, learning about the essential oils and enjoying an olfactory trip around the world.

 

Do you have a particular style or approach to creating fragrances? 

The concept for a fragrance can come from several directions but blending always starts in my mind.  I may find a beautiful scent, like orange blossoms, try a new essential oil or simply read about a new ingredient or perfume that starts the creative process. The next step is similar to cooking. Just as you have an idea of what seasoning will work in a recipe, I consider what essential oils or botanicals will work together. For instance, will a blend need the spark of a little citrus?  Perhaps a nice sandalwood as the base?  Following design principles means using specific fragrance ‘notes’ together so you can smell a top note after applying the fragrance and experience a smooth transition to middle notes and the final base notes that last the longest for what is called the ‘dry down’. Then the fun really begins as I place a drop or two of each ingredient onto a test strip and try different combinations. Because natural fragrance does not contain preservatives or longer-lasting synthetic fragrance chemicals, it rarely lasts as long as a synthetic.  The natural perfumer must carefully blend the fragrance notes and use essential oils that have fixative properties that help the overall blend last a bit longer.  Creating a beautifully balanced blend is the artistry of natural fragrance. 

 

Tell me about your favorite in the collection?

Almost Summer is a favorite because it was one of my first blends and it is a simple, beautiful orange blossom fragrance.  It reminds me of driving along orange groves when the trees are in bloom.  Everywhere you look you see the small white blossoms and their sweet, warm fragrance is carried by the breeze. It is a nice warm-weather fragrance and is uplifting during the colder months.

 

What projects are you currently working on and where do you want to take your business in the future? 

This spring is a big turning point for Brandywine Botanicals.  I will complete aromatherapy certification training in July and plan to offer an aromatherapy collection. This is likely to include a fragrant oil for massage or moisturizing and an aromatherapy spray that can be used to fragrance the home, linens and the skin.  That is the beauty of natural ingredients: they can serve more than one purpose with less concern than something made from petroleum products as many home fragrances are. Certification also opens the door to starting a small practice where custom blends can be offered to those with a specific need.  I work from my home studio so sell online and at local events but would like to find a small studio/retail space to offer fragrance, host workshops and support an aromatherapy practice.  Location is challenging for a small business but I am always on the lookout for unique opportunities so stay tuned!

 

 

Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your club?

I started ksqQWERTY very recently.  I am a writer and wanted a way to experience the combined fun of writing with my enthusiasm for the typewriter.  I thought it would be perfect to bring the two together in occasional and random pop-ups in and around Kennett Square. I hope to find other enthusiasts with typewriters to do some type-ins around town…maybe at the Kennett Library where I work or at one of the great coffee shops in town or at one of the many great events and venues Kennett is so prone to having!

How long have you been use a typewriter? and Why?

I had been carrying around a beautiful little portable typewriter that I found over 25 years ago at a thrift store in Philadelphia. I would type on it very occasionally but didn’t know how to maintain it or get ribbons for it and it eventually just sat on a shelf for many years.  Then no long ago, one very serendipitous and providential day, I met someone who was also an avid typewriter enthusiast and that sparked the motivation to actualize QWERTY.  I’ve been typing since.

How many typewriters do you have?  What’s their personality? 

I now have 9 typewriters and, as my son recently pointed out, they are each my favorite! My Olivetti Lettera 32 was my first typewriter – the one I found in the thrift store for $10. The next was a Adler Contessa also found at a thrift store. I have several older typewriter dating from the 40s and late 30s. They are gorgeous black shiny machines with little quirks that make them more easy to look at than type with. My most recent additions (kindly gifted to me by a total stranger who saw me at the Kennett Farmers Market) are a Smith Corona, a sturdy handsome thing that I will most likely use for most of my writing and also a lovely, lightweight turquoise portable Smith Corona from probably the 70s – perfect for taking out for a pop up event!

 

Can you talk a little about your project? 

Typing for the love of typing is fun (as opposed to having to type an over-due term paper full of type-o’s or typing office memoranda for an impatient boss under a looming deadline, also full of type-o’s). I love the snap the keys and seeing the type bars swing up and smack the paper and make the letters that march along forming words. Its like a little letter press! I love the bright “ding”! at the end of the line and “raaap” of the return carrier to start a new line. It makes writing a very physical, active, tactile, whole experience. Also typing is evidence of errors… they happen, you move on. Sometimes the errors have beauty and meaning, which I like. Sometimes they are annoying and uncomfortable, which is a good exercise in humility and living with imperfection.

 I feel connected to the making of the thing when I type. It pushes the process of writing beyond the conceptual/cerebral domain of working on a computer (it also doesn’t have the inherent distractions, such as Google, weather checks, email updates, etc… ) Writing on a typewriter is more emphatic and committed than writing with a pen or pencil. Though I write in all the above forms, and each lends to a slightly different product, I am currently infatuated with writing on and thinking about the typewriter.  Plus they are all just so beautiful!

 

 

Meet Virginia, the winemaker at Galer estate Vineyard and Winery.

 

How did you get started in wine?

Almost 10 years ago, I started my first research project as an undergraduate student at Penn State University. As a freshman in college, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I did know that I loved and appreciated food, so I started in Food Science in the College of Agriculture. My research project involved working with a model wine solution (which I knew nothing about–all under the guidance of my professor), and at this point, I started reading more about wine. There was so much science involved, but I also loved the culture, history, art, and complexity involved in the making of wine. I participated in my first harvest in the Lake Erie region in the fall of 2011, and I’ve been working with wine ever since!

 

What do you look for when you make wine?

Winemakers have to make hundreds of decisions everyday when working with wine. My goal–to make an outstanding wine–is to understand every variable in the grape growing and winemaking process. Any change or decision can affect the final product. I have to think about the quality of the fruit and the growing season, the factors involved during fermentation, how the wine is handled during filtering and movements, and what wines would be best blended together. These factors will contribute to my specific style of winemaking. I’m a little bit of a minimalist when it comes to winemaking so I try to intervene only when necessary. However, I’m still very much a New World winemaker, since I don’t mind making vital manipulations that will ultimately make a better product. Since I’m also a professional winemaker, I also have to be realistic and make a nice quality product that our guests at the winery will enjoy! 

 

What has surprised you about being a winemaker? 

When I began my adventure in winemaking, I realized two things. 
Winemaking is a very male dominated industry. There are only a handful of women winemakers in Pennsylvania. Although this number has been steadily increasing since I entered the wine industry. 
As an extreme novice entering the industry, I had no idea the vastness of the subject. There are so many varieties of grapes, styles of winemaking, and wine growing regions. And after 10 years of working with wine, I still have a lot to learn. There is always developing scientific research and market trends, that as a New World Winemaker I need to stay on top of. 
What is your favorite wine that you’ve made and what makes it your favorite?
My absolute favorite wine that I make is rosé. To make a rosé, I use robust, mature red grapes, but treat them as if they were white grapes throughout the process. It is always interesting to obtain floral, fruity, delicate flavors in the final wine. I always love the color as well. I was able to make a saignée method rosé for my wedding a few years ago. This was very special to me and my husband that we could give our family and friends something that was made by my own hands and hard work.

If you could drink wine anywhere, in any region or country, where would it be and why?

I can’t choose one place…Champagne in France; Shiraz in South Australia; Riesling in Germany; Cabernet Sauvignon in St. Helena, CA; Carmenere in Chile; and Viognier in VA…the list goes on..  I would love to visit every wine region in the world and explore their winemaking styles and varietals! There is always so much more to taste and so much more to learn when working with wine!

          How did you get into music?

 My father is an avid music lover, and as a young child we would listen to records of his favorite        classical pieces. I think that is when I first got the music bug.  I then began learning the piano, and my piano teacher during my high school years thought I might be interested in conducting. That was when I began to explore conducting opportunities, My first time on the podium was with an amateur orchestra, and I remember it being much harder than I thought it would be. How hard could it be to wave your arms, I thought!  Nevertheless,  the thrill of conducting an orchestra was undeniable, and I have been  fortunate enough to have  those opportunities ever since.

What do you find to be the most challenging part of being a conductor?
The joy of conducting is bringing a great work of art to life.  The great irony is that on the one hand you make no sound at all, but on the other hand you are responsible for all that happens on the stage. One of the great challenges is to establish a musical chemistry with the orchestra such that collectively you produce a performance of the highest emotional and communicative power.  This begins with a great amount of  private score study, an ability to rehearse effectively often with only a few rehearsals, and then giving the orchestra the impetus and inspiration the music needs in performance. 
What is one piece that you’ve always wanted to conduct?  -And have you had that chance yet?
There are so many pieces that are thrilling to conduct, some I have gotten the chance to and others that I haven’t. One of my career highlights was conducting  Mahler’s 2nd Symphony. It is work that in Mahler’s words ‘encompasses the whole world’. It expresses the full range of emotions that we as human beings experience. The music also requires a very large orchestra, chorus and vocal soloists.   The power and the tenderness in the work are compelling.  It takes one on a emotional journey that stays with you long after the performance.  
 
 What are you listening to in your car (ipod, etc) right now?
​ 
When I am in the car on my own, I  most often listen to sports radio. When my fiance is with me, we will sometimes listen to 80’s stations. I don’t usually listen to classical music unless it is pieces I am working on. Every now and then, however, I will go on a stretch of  listening to classical pieces that I do not know to broaden my knowledge of the repertoire.
What do you think about Kennett Square? 
From the minute I came to Kennett Square for my audition, I was taken by the beauty and quaintness of the region.  That was almost 4 years ago. My family and I enjoy walking on State St, browsing the shops and enjoying a coffee or a bite to eat at the Market. In fact, we recently moved into the borough and are thrilled. It is an honor to be the Music Director of the Kennett Symphony and to work with these very talented professional musicians. If you haven’t enjoyed a concert of the Kennett Symphony, I invite you to come and enjoy one of our many concerts. 
 

Meet Shannon, Mother of two beautiful girls, owner of  Penny  lane emporium.

Can you tell us about yourself?
 
I live in Chadds Ford with my two daughters, Lily & Quinn, and my husband, Rob.  I grew up in Chadds Ford and we moved back a few years ago to raise our family here.  I love this area so much.  It holds a lot of personal history and happy memories and I’m so grateful we came back.  I worked in corporate retail for 17 years, most recently at Urban Outfitters Inc, where I spent 14 years working in Merchandising in the Planning & Allocation department.  I recently left my corporate career to venture out on my own and chase a life long dream of opening a retail shop.  My family is my biggest Joy.  I think good girlfriends and good wine are an essential part of life.  I love to travel,
be silly with my kids and believe that life is truly what you make of it.
What made you want to open a children clothing store? 
As I was exploring what I wanted to do with the next chapter of my career, I knew I wanted to open a local shop in the community.  In the end, I put together the elements of what I believe I know best:  Retail + Parents + Kids.  I use my own daughters as inspiration and follow their lead on what they like in their personal lives.  I like the fun, whimsical nature of children’s retail.  I felt that was missing in Kennett Square and I wanted to bring something unique and fresh to the town.
Where did the name Penny Lane Emporium come from?
Penny Lane has a whimsical feel to it.  To me, it feels like a warm and welcoming location, a place I would be curious to visit.  Emporium also feels very fun and magical and helps communicate the variety of items we sell.  Clothing, accessories, gifts, shoes, novelties, ice cream, etc.
What makes your store unique?
Penny Lane Emporium offers a engaging retail experience for parents and kids.  I really wanted to create a space that kids would want to visit.  As a parent, I am very familiar with the challenges of shopping with children.  If I can engage the kids in the retail experience as well, it’s a win win for everyone.  We have a small, but cheerful kid’s area with chalk board and coloring activities, a Little Free Library that serves as a community book exchange for kids, a Mouse Hunt riddle for kids to solve for a prize and of course, Mochi Ice Cream.  I hope kids, as well as, parents will want to come back again and again.
What do you think about Kennett Square?
 
I have always loved Kennett Square and was really excited to become a local business owner in town.  Little did I know how amazing it really is!  The community feel of Kennett is fostered by the amazing merchants, business owners and borough government.  Everyone has been supportive, helpful and welcoming to Penny Lane.  It truly is a unique and wonderful place and I feel very fortunate to be fulfilling my dream in this community.
For more information visit website here:https://pennylaneemp.com
  1. Janet Cook and family said:
    Best of luck Shannon in your new endeavor. We wish you all the best.
    June 7, 2017  1:14 pm
    Reply